One of the most important pieces of gear for your canine companion is their collar. Collars are something that gets used every day by your pup, and for that reason, they need to be of high quality, as well as something that expresses your pup’s style.
With all of the options for collars on the market, how can you tell if you’re getting the best quality for your money? Some collars are fairly expensive, while others are cheaper. Regardless of the price, you want to know that the collar you choose will stand the test of time.
Here’s our guide on how to choose the best dog collar in 2021!
So Many Collars To Choose From
When looking to choose a new collar for your dog, you may be a bit overwhelmed by all of the choices available on the market. There are plenty of different designs for collars, and they all serve different purposes. We’ll be covering true collars here, so no harnesses! Check these options out.
Flat collars are the traditional dog collar and the one that you can find in most big box stores. They’re made out of nearly any material you can imagine, and because of that, they’ve got the most options associated with them. Chances are if you can think of a design, color, or material, it’s available as a flat collar.
Rolled collars are very much like flat collars, except the material that it’s made from is rolled over. Because of this construction, the collar takes on almost a tubular look. It’s also because of this construction that the materials that these collars are made of are quite limited.
Martingale collars look very similar to a flat collar, but with a small difference that can be hard to notice. The Martingale collar is also known as a limited-slip collar, as it prevents pups from slipping out of the collar. It’s designed so that when a dog pulls, the collar tightens slightly, preventing any escapes, as well as discouraging pulling.
Head collars/head halters are what they sound like: a collar that’s slipped around the head of a dog. These are made with rowdy pullers in mind, as it is meant to curb that behavior. The collar is placed around the head of a dog, which has very sensitive areas. When pulled on, it creates an uncomfortable sensation for the dog, which is meant to discourage pulling altogether.
Collars That Should NEVER Be Used
While Martingale and head collars discourage unwanted behaviors that your dog may exhibit, they are not harmful to your pup. There are, however, collars that are meant to discourage behavior in dogs that can cause actual physical harm to them.
These collars are unethical and are never to be used.
- Choke chain collars - These collars, as the name implies, choke dogs when they pull too hard. This can cause permanent tracheal and esophageal damage to dogs.
- Prong or pinch collars - Prong or pinch collars act in a similar manner to the Martingale collar; however, the slip that tightens is made from metal that will pinch or jab into the dog’s neck, risking permanent damage.
- Shock collars - These aversive collars are used to train dogs not to bark in most cases or are used in conjunction with electric fences. They can cause permanent behavioral issues, such as fear and anxiety, and should never be used.
Now that the types of collars have been discussed, we can dive into all the different materials used to make collars! Each material has its own pros and cons, so it is entirely up to you and your dog’s needs when making your decision.
Nylon and Polyester
Nylon and polyester have to be the most common collar materials used in today’s market. They’re a woven fabric that can be made in any color or pattern that you can think of. This material is by far the most cost-effective on the market, as well as widely available. Nylon and polyester collars can be found on shelves in most pet stores for a reasonable price.
- Wide variety
- Easy Maintenance
- Easily waterlogged
- Prone to fraying
- Absorbs odors
Perhaps the oldest material used when making collars, leather is the traditional option. These collars are great if you’re willing to pay more attention to them than you would other collars. Leather is made from animal hide and needs specific care to remain durable and comfortable for your pup.
- Very stylish
- More expensive than all other options
- Requires maintenance
- Damaged in water
Neoprene is a material similar in feel to nylon and polyester, but it’s a bit better. Neoprene is the same material used in diving suits, and because of that, it’s nearly entirely water-resistant. It’s a bit harder to find used in collars, but if your dog is an avid swimmer, it might be worth the search.
- Harder to find
- Limited styles
This may be the best collar material available on the market. Biothane is a unique material, as it’s a naturally derived urethane compound coated onto webbing. The result is a rubber-like material that’s waterproof, resistant to grime, and highly durable. If you’re looking for a collar that will stand the test of time, look for one in biothane.
- Wipes clean
- Not available in patterns
- More expensive than nylon or polyester
Fitting a Collar
Now that you know everything you need to know about collar designs and materials, you’re ready to get a new collar for your four-legged friend! The last step you’ve got before being able to pull the trigger on the choice you’ve got your sights set on is determining the fit for your dog.
- Measure your dog’s neck girth using a soft measuring tape. The measurement should be taken around the thickest part of the neck, normally right before the shoulders.
- Find the correct size of collar and make your purchase.
- When putting the collar on your canine companion, follow the two-finger technique. This allows for the best fit.
The Two-Finger Technique
If you’ve never used this technique before, or you simply haven’t heard of it, don’t worry! It’s very easy and helps to make sure your pup’s collar fits comfortably. Take your index and middle finger and stack them on each other. With your fingers stacked, slip them between the collar and your pup.
They should fit snugly, not so tight that it’s hard to move them, and not so loose that there’s a large gap. Using this technique ensures maximum comfort (and safety) for your pooch!
Last Call for Collars
You’re now ready to pick the best collar out there for your pup. When shopping for a collar, be sure to keep the design in mind, as well as the material. Don’t forget to use the two-finger technique for the best fit, too.
Feel free to find a few different options and accessories, and try them out to see what works best for you and your pooch!